Monday, May 01, 2006

pirates strike anew in SE China Sea

Southern China; Hainan Island.

“The ‘Southern Metropolitan Daily’ in Hainan reports that four Chinese fishermen were killed in a Pirate attack of the coast of Islands of the disputed “Spratly Chain” of islands near the Philippine island province of Palawan.” - WIRES

When I saw this report on the wires and the ABS-CBN website it may to view of most who see these kinds of raids and robberies to be just another attack.

Men in a small swift vessel hitting a fishing boat on the seas of the rich fishing grounds of the

South China Sea.; Then one looks at the area and see's something.
They didn't take the vessel. They left men alive. They took radio's, communications gear, and money and then let the rest go after running the vessel a few hours.
The group was well armed – they hit the targets they needed to hit and moved on after taking things of value off the ship.

What makes this different you might think? Having covered Pirate attacks and missing vessels in the area for now going on two decades pirate attacks follow one age old tradition - dead men tell no tales.

Typically the Pirates of the Sulu, Suluwesi, South China Sea, do not let those they encounter get away. Pirates, don't leave anything behind or anyone, they scuttle and strip everything off of vessels.

In the opinion of people familiar with the situation there;

"This was either business rivalry fight over a rich fishing ground area - or- smugglers who don't want another vessel in an area they were using, and, lastly. Seeing a pattern to these strange attacks - hit and run - almost like "practice missions" the main suspect are Maritime Terror groups in the area.” - A senior retired Naval Officer now a Military Analyst warns.

Perhaps the most notorious of this, is a shadowy group in the area that; in the late 1980's- 1990's was organized to scare away foreign fishing vessels from the shores of a Southern Philippine Province. A group that may be coming back; and with a vengeance; attempting to carry out a much more deadly attack against bigger targets.

Increasingly is seen by Naval forces in the area as part of the growing "Naval Terror " tactics of a group that in the `1990's carried out a number of raids like this to announce their presence.

That group, originally formed to scare off "foreign" fishing vessels from the seas around the Sulu Archipelago, did things like this, boarding, striping vessels, taking some crew members and freeing the rest.

The group had its roots in the Separatist Insurgency of Mindanao;

It called itself "Al Harakatul Al Islamyia," the name, is one of many who have covered them know;

But to most people the type of attack is well known to people of the Southern Philippines Eastern Malaysia and Central North Eastern Indonesian Borneo.
The group that I am refering to is; known more as the ASG, the Abu Sayyaf Group.

They have hit in the Moro Gulf, the Mindanao Sea, the Davao Gulf, the Sulu Sea, and off the coast of Borneo.

But the Spratly's are known for their activities as well. Albeit not so well covered and reported as the more spectacular attacks they have carried out before..
It would be a good thing to find more information on the report.

The types of weapons, the language spoken by the pirates; It is something; considering attacks in other parts of the region at around the same time frame should be looked into. There have also been several mysterious incidents in the area ; vessel gone with a trace of wreakage.

I am sure this all being looked into; But, I am wondering - if considering the timing we might be hearing more about this soon.

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